Stress

Written by Dr Claudia Pastides, 15th March 2019


Stress is an unpleasant feeling that you are under so much pressure you feel unable to cope with it all. Stress causes mental and physical changes in the body and if you're constantly stressed, you may develop stress-related symptoms, depression or anxiety.


Causes

Every individual is different when it comes to what causes them stress. Stress is not only caused by upsetting events (such as unemployment, relationship difficulties or bereavement) but also by events that lead us to feel overloaded (such as after the birth of a child, change in our work circumstances or moving house).

Risk factors

  • Work related stress (high workload, retirement, career change)
  • Housing related difficulties (disagreements with neighbours, moving house)
  • Family issues (divorce, relationship challenges)
  • Health concerns
  • Financial worries
  • Being a carer

Typical Symptoms

  • General aches and pains
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Mood change
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Poor sleep

Common Treatment

  • Relaxation techniques
  • CBT
  • Talking therapies
  • Improving sleep hygiene

When to speak to a doctor

Stress can usually be managed through self-help techniques however it is important to speak to a doctor if you:

  • Have symptoms that are worsening
  • Have symptoms that persist beyond a stressful period
  • Are losing weight
  • Are worried about personality changes
  • Have persistently low mood
  • Are not taking pleasure in things that you previously enjoyed
  • Have thoughts of self-harm or suicide

A great tool to assess your mood is the Babylon Healthcheck.


Prevention

Stress can be managed and prevented by:

  • Having a good social support network
  • Keeping an eye on your work-life balance



More information

NHS Moodzone - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/understanding-stress/

Depression - https://www.gpathand.nhs.uk/what-we-treat/depression

Anxiety - https://www.gpathand.nhs.uk/what-we-treat/anxiety